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Glashütte Original Senator Observer Watch Hands-On


The Glashütte Original Senator Observer was a sleeper hit for Baselworld 2015, but a timepiece you should certainly know about. Under the massive Swatch Group family of brands, German watch maker Glashütte Original is a favorite among many collectors and watch enthusiasts, offering classically inspired watches as well as those with an approachable avant-garde design. With that said, many traditional fans of the brand have been wondering when Glashütte Original will once again begin to offer sport watches. They sort of did with the Senator Seventies – but in my opinion, that was more a retro-revival watch than something with a real sporty soul. I am talking about a return to the Sport Evolution or the Senator Navigator pilot watch collection. So is there good news for 2015 when it comes to new sport watches from Glashütte Original? Sort of.


I’ll be the first to admit that the Glashütte Original Senator Observer is not a traditional sport watch, but it is a classy sport-inspired watch, and I think it ticks off a lot of the right boxes for a gorgeous yet not-too-dressy daily wear. That is especially the case if you opt for the Glashütte Original Senator Observer on the available steel metal bracelet. In fact, the Glashütte Original Senator Observer – like some other Glashütte Original watches – is inspired by naval observation clocks and the style and legibility thereof. A few years ago, you may recall another Glashütte Original watch with this same caliber 100-14 movement that had a white dial with blued-steel hands. Now, the brand has offered something totally different with a black dial, and I love it.

The Glashütte Original caliber 100-14 is a nicely decorated automatic movement operating at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with a power reserve of 55 hours. The automatic rotor is in 21k gold. It offers the time with subsidiary seconds dial, a power reserve indicator, and a big date indicator (that they call a “panorama date” window). What I like is how the dial features are laid out with sublime symmetry as well as a keen eye for legibility.


With a black dial, Glashütte Original offers a new type of large and lume-filled hands produced from 18k white gold. Likewise, luminant is applied all over the dial to pretty much everything save for the date indicator discs. The design of the luminant is even artistic, and according to the brand, the font used for the dial of the Glashütte Original Senator Observer is new for them and inspired by actual vintage observation clocks. What I really like here is how well it combines sporty readability with just a hint of decorative value which the Germans in particular are really good at.


In a good looking polished steel case, the Glashütte Original Senator Observer is a bold 44mm wide and just 12mm thick. Unfortunately, with a water resistance of just 50 meters, this isn’t a swimming watch. Over the dial is a well AR-coated sapphire crystal, and there is another over the movement on the exhibition caseback. The brushed finishing on the sides of the case offer additional sporty design value.


If you want to wear the Glashütte Original Senator Observer as a more dressy watch, then you can opt for the reference 100-14-07-02-30 (or 100-14-07-02-50 with shorter clasp) model that comes on the black calfskin strap. This is the model I am wearing in this article. However, I feel that the real value for Glashütte Original sport watch fans is the reference 100-14-07-02-70 that comes on the steel bracelet. This makes for a really nice looking sport watch that still has a conservative twist to it – which at the end of the day, is really what Glashütte Original is all about. Price is US$11,800 on the strap and US$13,300 on the steel bracelet.